NEW DELHI: The coronavirus pandemic introduced many more variables into an incredibly dynamic and complex global situation and even brought out in the open the behaviour of states at times of stress, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
Without specifically mentioning any country or incidents, the external affairs minister also said that power plays will continue on a changed playing field, noting that concerns will reflect "recent experiences" and resulting anxieties and so will solutions.
Jaishankar was speaking at the WION global summit on 'Power Play in a Post Pandemic World'.
"Now, into an incredibly dynamic and complex global situation, the COVID pandemic has actually introduced many more variables. Not just that, some of these actually came as a shock to the entire global system," he said.
For example, he noted, the pandemic has raised fundamental concerns about the virtues of globalisation by bringing out the importance of reliable supply chains.
"It has also brought out in the open the behaviour of states at times of stress, thereby highlighting the more uncomfortable realities of global politics," the external affairs minister said.
There has been mounting global criticism of China for its expansionist behaviour when the world was reeling under the pandemic.
Talking about power plays, Jaishankar said it has many concrete expressions across different geographies and that the rise of China, and to some extent of India, is one part of the story.
"The significant changes in the American strategic posture are equally important, and obviously not unconnected.
The collective character of the West, including its alliance manifestation, is also no longer the same," he said.
"In many cases, historical players like Russia, Turkey or Iran are far more active in their near vicinity; in the case of Russia, well beyond.
As a trend, the influence of middle powers has grown much more in a flatter world," Jaishankar said.
He said power plays will continue, but now clearly on a changed playing field.
"Capabilities may be different, perhaps reputations as well.
Concerns will reflect recent experiences and resulting anxieties; obviously, solutions too will do the same," he said.
"But the mother of all black swans will ensure that our very manner of thinking will be different.
So welcome to the post-pandemic world! And I wish you all a very good deliberation," he added.
Jaishankar also mentioned India's massive mission to evacuate Indians stranded abroad in the midst of the pandemic and its supply of coronavirus vaccine to around 80 countries.
"As a society for whom the world was a workplace, we mounted an unprecedented repatriation operation through the Vande Bharat Mission.
And as we moved to deal with the pandemic itself, our domestic priorities were harmonized with our global outlook in the Vaccine Maitri that now extends to almost 80 nations," he said.